Making provisions for one’s death should not be considered morbid or fatalistic. That’s why wills are made, inheritances arranged, estates planned. It is no less appropriate to pre-arrange some or all of the details surrounding your death.
It is important to recognize that death often places unanticipated burdens on survivors. Without advance guidance, the surviving family spouse or children may not know the right or “expected” thing to do. Making arrangements in advance may lessen survivors’ burdens at a difficult time and ensure that your wishes will be carried out.
At the same time, a pre-arranged funeral should not be foisted upon anyone; it’s always a matter of individual choice. Pre-arranging your funeral should be done with the same care and consideration that you used when writing your will, planning your wedding, or buying your home.
Should I involve my family in the pre-arrangement process?
Yes, by all means. Consider the wishes and feelings of the family. Frequently an honest desire to spare survivors of the “painful” task of making funeral arrangements has a reverse impact because loved ones are removed from the process. Instead, permit loved one when possible to be active participants in the pre-arrangement process. However, do not force your family into any discomfort they may feel as a result of making pre-arrangements.
Whose needs do I consider when planning my funeral? My family’s or mine?
Funerals are for the survivors. The funeral serves as on-going testimony that a life has been lived. It serves as a last act of recognition, honor, respect, and reunion of heartfelt memories. It is also a gathering of social significance. Publicly, love is both expressed and received. The funeral serves the survivors emotional needs; expressing grief is one of those needs. The advantage of involving loved ones in pre-arranging also brings the formerly “taboo” subject of death into the open. Planning ahead with family helps ensure that the funeral will be meaningful to the participants, while still reflecting your individual preferences.
What happens to the funds?
In the case of funeral trusts, the money goes into an interest-bearing, government backed account in your name at a bank, savings and loan associations, or credit union. The interest is taxable to you.
How do price-guaranteed funeral trusts work?
With a price guaranteed pre-arrangement, the services and merchandise you select are price-guaranteed. Cash-advanced items are not price guaranteed. The funds you place in trust are invested in a Cert. of Deposit at a bank or the Wisconsin Funeral Trust. At the time of death, Roseberry’s retains the principle plus interest in consideration for your lifetime guarantee.
|Excess funds in Trust||family keeps or refunded to state if on Medicaid||funeral home|
|Short-fall in funds in trust||family pays the difference||funeral home pays the difference|
What about going on Public Assistance?
Public assistance laws change periodically, but they typically take into account that at least some, if not all, funeral expenses may be pre-paid. Determining which rules apply depends upon which public assistance program you are applying to (Medical Assistance, SSI, General Assistance, etc.) and your particular circumstances.
To receive the maximum exemption, careful consideration needs to be given to the type of pre-funding mechanism that is selected. Particular attention needs to be paid to the timing of the pre-funding and to the exact circumstances of the applicant so as not to disqualify the applicant from public assistance programs. Your funeral professional can expertly guide you through this process.